Survey method


To cite or reference this content, please use the following reference:

Haake, A. B. (2010). Music listening in offices: Balancing internal needs and external considerations (Doctoral thesis, University of Sheffield, Sheffield) accessed from


One of the key aims of this research was to provide an insight into how people listen to music in offices through modern listening devices. The survey included both quantitative and qualitative items.

It was viewed as important to achieve as much ecological validity as possible, as this aspect has been missing in much of the previous research reviewed. Occupation categories included:

  • Administrative occupations
  • Business and public service
  • Culture, media, sports
  • Health and social welfare
  • Managers
  • Protective services (police and fire services)
  • Science and technology
  • Secretarial
  • Teaching and research

The sample constituted of 295 participants (175 females and 118 males) who worked primarily in computer-based office environments. Distribution of the population was compared with data on occupational groups from the 2001 census for England  (NationalStatisticsNomis, 2006). Distribution of people according to job categories and also gender distribution within these categories were highly similar between the survey and the population, with deviations of less than 5% per category.

Respondents were aged between 18 and 65 with a majority between 26-35yrs. During analysis, the age groups were categorised into younger (18-35, N=165) and older (36-65, N=129). The respondents found their jobs on average moderately stressful ( ̄x =2.48, Likert-scale of 1=not stressed at all to 5=extremely stressed. SD=0.88). Most people worked in open plan office environments (41%) or shared offices (30%), while 29% worked in private office environments. Gender, occupational category, age, reported job stress and working environment are all background variables which are investigated as possible influencing factors on the effects and experiences of music in offices.

Analysis of the quantitative data included descriptive and comparative statistical tests using the statistical software SPSS. Analysis of the free-response questions was carried out using thematic analysis. The analysis was carried out using the qualitative research software Nvivo.


______________________Women               Men                  Total


Occupation category

Administrative occupations       40 (82%)            9 (18%)              49

Business and public service       30 (60%)            20 (40%)           50

Culture, media, sports                  1 (11%)                8 (89%)             9

Health and social welfare          21 (88%)             3 (13%)             24

Managers                                        36 (47%)             39 (51%)           75

Protective services                         4 (33%)               8 (67%)            12

Science and technology               7 (39%)               11 (61%)           18

Secretarial                                       17 (94%)              1 (6%)              18

Teaching and research                19 (50%)             19 (50%)         38

Total                                                175                       118                    293*


Table 3.1: occupation and gender distribution. * missing values for two participants.


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